The best time of the year to buy a car

Consumer Reports News: August 17, 2007 07:31 PM

Timing is everything and if you're in the market for a new car, good timing can actually save you money. There are many times throughout the year when there are excellent deals on new cars. It seems, everywhere you turn, there are calendar year-end deals, model year-end deals, discounts, rebates, and other promotions. So, when is the best time to buy and how can consumers take advantage of these deals? Here are some good times to hit the showroom.

End of the month
Many dealerships establish monthly sales quotas that encourage each salesperson to make a certain number of deals. This means that during the last week of the month, especially the last weekend, salespeople are hungry to make a deal--their bonus may depend on it.

End of model year
Most manufacturers bring out their new model year vehicles in the late summer and continue their product launches throughout the fall (sometimes, new models come out year-round). This is a great time to get bargains because dealerships are trying hard to unload any "leftovers" from the previous model year. However, if you want to trade that car in two years from now, it will be appraised as a three-year-old. But if short-term depreciation doesn't matter to you, there are great deals to be had with these models.

End of calendar year
There may still be "leftovers" from the previous model year available and automakers are looking to close the year with strong sales. They also want to get out what they can because the winter months are typically their slowest season.

Rebates & incentives
Manufacturers offer rebates, incentives, and cheap financing throughout the year, but they often coincide with a holiday, long weekend, or special promotion. Some manufacturers may even put a rebate on a new vehicle just to stir up interest and demand.

Car Buying Resources
Check out Consumer Reports' list of the current deals on recommended vehicles.
To track the latest deals on new cars, use the Best New Car Deals RSS feed.
Also, talk with other car buyers in our buying and leasing and your best deal forums.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Cars News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more